best time to book a hotel room
Booking a hotel room online – belchonock (depositphotos)

Some may believe booking a hotel room far in advance, to avoid high last-minute prices as you get closer to the travel date, is best. Others believe that off-season travel will save them big bucks instead of traveling in the middle of the holiday season. But, in reality, it’s not so simple. So when is the best time to book a hotel room? Kayak, Hopper, Expedia, Booking.com, and Hotels.com are some of the best booking sites that offer unique insight to answer all these nitty-gritty questions.

Key Takeway

Best day to book for domestic travelSaturday
Best day to book for international travelFriday
Best check-in daysTuesday & Sunday
Best time to book last minute4:00 PM
Best time to book smaller vacation destination1 month in advance
Best time to book big city destinationLast minute
Best month to book hotels in the USSeptember
Best month to book hotels abroadJuly & December

What are the Best Days to Book a Hotel Room?

Famous travel sight, Kayak states that “our best bet is to book on Fridays and Saturdays” They say prices are at their “peak” on Monday and Tuesday, so scoring the best deals for a hotel room falls on the weekend. To go into detail, Saturday would be the cheapest for domestic travel, and Friday for international travel.

Have you ever considered that along with your booking day, your check-in and out day may also significantly impact your price? Changing your check-in or out date by just a few days could grant you some valuable savings. According to Kayak, Tuesday is the optimal day for check-in, which applies domestically and internationally.

On the other hand, Hopper proclaims that Sunday is the Optimal Check-in day, and you will save about 19%. Therefore, if your trip allows for a bit of flexibility, hop on the Tuesday/Sunday train!

What is the Best Time to Book A Hotel Room?

Here is the combination of factors when timing your booking. There is no need to stress yourself to meet all of them though, at the very least pay attention to point #2 and #3.

  1. Book on Friday or Saturday
  2. Book smaller vacation destinations a month in advance
  3. Book big city stays last minute. Waiting until 4 PM is suggested for last minute book.
  4. Try to check in on a Tuesday or Sunday
  5. Try to book in December or July

How did we get to this conclusion? Continue reading below to find the details.

Before we continue, note another way to save travel costs is by securing a good deal when booking your flight. Here are our best tips on how to find cheap flights.

What is the Best Time to Book A Hotel Room Last Minute?

We learned that Tuesday is our critical booking day; waiting until 4 pm is the perfect time for price plummets. This is according to Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, a travel trend specialist, based on her article in Forbes Magazine with personal insights for the best time of day to book a hotel room.

Furthermore, if you are not lucky enough to book your last-minute stay on a Tuesday, don’t worry! This 4 pm rule applies to any day of the week. Unlike flights, which typically rise in price as time passes, hotel rooms tend to become desperate to fill last-minute empty spots, landing you the perfect deal.

How Far in Advance Should I Book a Hotel Room?

“Hotels are usually cheaper when you book 15 days out compared to four months out.” This statement was presented by Nerdwallet in a recent 2022 study. They collected data from over 2500 hotel room prices in 2019 and 2020.

The study was about a concept that different destinations call for other booking times. A popular belief is that bookings should be made far in advance for the lowest prices, but apparently, this research suggests otherwise!

Hopper, another excellent travel saver company, provides numerous options to book the best hotels, flights, and more for the best deals. In addition, Hopper shows research about specific timeline data regarding hotel booking. To add to Nerdwallet’s study, we can see that Hopper provides a more detailed proposal and states, “If you’re headed to a smaller vacation destination, book at least a month in advance,” and “If you’re headed to a big city, consider booking last-minute.”

Hopper suggests this is because large cities will provide many last-minute deals to get people in the doors. On the other hand, smaller vacation destinations are very competitive, and hotels will raise their prices for guests trying to sneak a spot last minute. So depending on your travel destination, take all the time you need, or don’t lose any time!

What is the Best Month to Book a Hotel Room?

We all know that hotels get a lot busier during the holidays and peak seasons, but it is not to say you can’t still score some fantastic deals! September is the best month to book a hotel room in the US for peak season or off-season.

Internationally, the cheapest months are July and December, being 6% cheaper on average. This research comes from Skyscanner, which closely examines the best months to book hotel rooms based on their thousands of bookings. Skyscanner provides hundreds of deals on hotels all around the world. They also say October holds the highest domestic prices, and internationally, booking in July saves a whopping 9% average, “This is followed closely by April with 8% savings.”

Time your booking to get the best hotel deals
Time your booking to get the best hotel deals – nicomenijes (canva)

FAQs

Is it cheaper to book a hotel room directly?

If you’re a member of the hotel’s rewards program, booking directly with the hotel may be less expensive. Using a Hilton Honors card, for example, you can earn rewards at any hotel in the Hilton family, and they can add up quickly.

What is the best way to book a hotel room?

There are several factors to consider. If you book directly with the hotel—by phone or the website—and have a free loyalty card, you can accrue points and other perks such as free Wi-Fi or a preferred room. However, booking sites like Expedia, Travelocity, and Priceline have a certain number of rooms available at a deep discount, so you may have better luck using them as their prices can be lower than the rack rate of hotels. Call the hotel and tell them the price you got from a booking site, and they may match it. The bottom line is to compare prices using each method.

It’s important to know that using a booking site may be cheaper, but to the hotel staff, you’re considered a customer of the booking site, not the hotel, and the customer service may not be as good as if you’d booked directly with the hotel.

Is it cheaper to book a hotel room on the same day?

It depends on the destination. You could get a discounted room for lodging in large cities with many hotels to choose from and not a lot of competition. Hotels would rather have a guest paying a cheaper rate than no guest at all. However, if you’re somewhere where there are only a few hotels, the competition will be greater, giving the hotel less incentive to offer a lower price.

What are the benefits of booking a hotel room directly with the hotel?

A couple of benefits of booking directly with the hotel is that the hotels generally have more liberal cancellation policies than travel booking sites. Front desk staff will often give preferred room locations to those who book directly with them and will choose those guests over those who booked through a booking site whenever they decide to upgrade a guest’s accommodation.

What are the benefits of booking a hotel through a booking site?

Many travelers appreciate having all their travel plans in one place. For instance, if you’re using Expedia, you can use their app to view your hotel, rental car, and flight information all in one place. Some booking sites offer cash rewards for using them, which can be used to book later travel.

Are all booking sites the same?

No, each has its perks and quirks for things such as travel protection, cancellation policies, and. For the best experience, check around to see which booking sites are recommended, as new ones pop up daily. When doing an internet search for a particular booking site, make sure you’re directed to the website you’re looking for. Some links are sponsored ads and will show up as one of the first results on the page but will take you to a competitor’s site instead of the one you were searching for.

Now that you know how to time your hotel booking timing, here are the best sites to book one: 13 Best Hotel Booking Sites.

Also contributing: Chris Day

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1 Comment

  1. It was quite a helpful tip when you told us that Tuesdays and Sundays are the most optimal days for hotel check-ins if you want to be granted valuable savings. My friends and I have decided to go to Disneyland next week, so we were thinking of staying somewhere near overnight. I’ll be sure to remember this tip while we look up hotels by Disney online later.

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